State lawmakers have been investigating the operations of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, but DCS officials now say they can show measurable improvements in the agency and that more are on the way.
Last year, lawmakers began scrutinizing the DCS over its response to and reporting of the abuse and death of children under its care. Now, DCS Commissioner Jim Henry says the agency has made improvements that mean fewer dropped calls at its child abuse hotline and better training for its caseworkers. Henry says the DCS is also offering more help to parents at home, thereby reducing the number of children in state custody.
This week, DCS officials announced that starting in 2014, the agency will report a child’s death to the public immediately, along with age, gender and the history of how the DCS was involved. The agency will then report whether abuse or neglect were involved in the death, and then will post redacted copies of investigation files once the investigation is complete.
Investigation files of 2012 child fatalities are now posted on the DCS website.